Friday, March 24, 2017

Marriage is a covenant, not a contract

I have a passion for marriage.

I love love. I love seeing people in love, and I hate it when I see issues in people's relationships that could be so easily fixed if they would just take the time to do it.

However, I realize that marriage is not easy. Relationships are not easy. Not everyone is as easy to love and get along with as my husband is! So I also love learning about relationships. I like Focus on the Family's podcasts about how to strengthen your marriage. It seems like as strong as I think Nate and I are that I always find some way that I can be more intentional about being a good wife.

I wanted to read a book called "Cherish" that I heard about on Focus on the Family, but our church library didn't have it. The librarians said they would order it but showed me the other marriage books in the little church library.

I chose a book called "Beyond Ordinary," by Justin and Trisha Davis. It's really for people who are struggling in marriage, but I figure if these people can show me what goes wrong in a relationship I can learn from it before going through it.

I took down a note on my phone that I wanted to blog about: Marriage is not a contractual agreement, it is a covenant agreement. When we decide to get married, we don't fill the agreement with clauses and exemptions. We swear to love the other person in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer, for better for worse.

Yet, especially in this society, we so often live our marriages like contractual agreements. If you provide me with this, I will give you this. If I make you happy, you must make me happy. If I cook you dinner, you must clean up. If I go to work and you stay home, you better get all the chores done before I arrive. If I bring you home flowers, you owe me a favor later.

If the other person doesn't fulfill our expectations for the contract, then divorce is the obvious answer.

"But they didn't live up to the agreement."

Is your spouse still alive? And you agreed to love and cherish until death do you part? Then, your spouse is living up to the agreement.

Marriage is a picture on earth of what our relationship with God should be. God also has a covenant relationship with us. No matter how badly we screw up, he loves us. We enter into the covenant when we accept Jesus as our savior, and that's it. There's no stipulations that would negate the covenant. Often we live as a contract with God --- I have to live a perfect life; God is supposed to bless me; life should be better when I'm a Christian. But that's not how it's intended to be, just like that's not how marriage is intended to be.

Contracts are broken all the time. There are consequences but we deal with them and move on.

Covenants are meant to last. Marriage is meant to last. Let's live like it.

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